03/25/2008 12:34 AM
By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Staff Reporter
Sharjah: Scholars and leading academicians gathered on Monday to celebrate a millennium of Arab Muslim contributions to modern science.
His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, attended the inaugural ceremony of the first International Conference on the Arab and Muslim history of science, titled "The Impact of Arabic and Islamic Sciences on Human Civilisation."
The conference will run until March 27 at the University of Sharjah.
"The Islamic civilisation reached its highest expression from the fifth to the 16th centuries, however, Western history has eradicated it and replaced it with the term Dark Ages," said Dr Mohammad Al Qumati, representative of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation in the United Kingdom.
He noted that 1,000 years of history is not mentioned in Western history texts spanning the period from the Roman Empire to the Renaissance, the period in which Muslim contributions to science and technology reached their height.
"We aim to make this conference the first building block of a well-established institute at the University of Sharjah with an independent entity that will be the beginning of further conferences in this field," said Professor Hamid Al Naimi, Chairman of the Organising Committee, and Chairman of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences. Al Naimi said the conference will allow scientific institutions and research centres to develop strategies to propagate the Arab and Islamic scientific heritage.
"We want to show the world the true worth and greatness of this nation, the Arab Islamic nation, whose scientific knowledge has extended to embrace all cultures," he said.
Future activities being planned include the establishment of a scholarly methodology for the editing, studying and publishing of manuscripts in their original languages and translating them into other languages.
Exhibitions will also be held at the university during the conference that will highlight efforts by the Juma Al Majid Centre to restore historic manuscripts and the manufacturing of paper.
Al Naimi added that the conference emphasises the purity of the cultural identity of the Islamic and Arab nations "in a bid to acquaint Arabs and Muslims, especially youth, with this heritage and its origins."
More than 300 participants have registered for the conference, representing more than 35 countries and more than 200 scientific and research institutions.
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